Berkeley High School’s (BHS) Black Student Union (BSU) hosted a Black History Month event at lunch last Friday, February 25, to celebrate the diverse cultures of the African diaspora.
The Black History Month event was one of community — many students gathered together to mingle and participate in or watch the attractions.
The event began with a showcase of BHS’s African Diaspora dance classes on the campus green, led by teacher Dawn Williams. The drummers who provided music for the dancers stayed to play afterwards, and speakers also gave the rest of the event a musical atmosphere.
“The drumming and the dancers were amazing,” said Merhawi Solomon, a sophomore in Academic Choice (AC).
Following the dance performances, the audience was invited to participate in games and races, enticed by the prize of first in line for the food. Many tables were set up to provide students with free soul food, staffed by students and adults.
“There was fried chicken, mashed potatoes, spinach, and peaches,” Solomon said. “The food was delicious.”
Lines for the food were long throughout lunch, and students filled the campus green eating. “[I saw] lots of good vibes and people celebrating … Black History Month,” said Spencer Pritchard, a teacher in the African American (AFAM) Studies Department.
Posters showcasing key values and mottoes also filled the campus green for the event. One poster titled “Imani,” the Swahili word for faith, read: “At the Black Student Union, we have faith in our community that we will grow, prosper, and rise against the system that is meant to keep us down.”
Another poster described the principle of Ujima, or collective responsibility, while a third featured Kujichagulia, or self-determination. It spoke of “coming together as a community and [bringing] Black people together.”
The event also featured several booths. One described the principles of the BSU and provided instructions on how to sign up, another sold t-shirts to raise money, and the last was an altar for spirits.
Miles Davis, a senior in AC and vice president of the BSU, worked for the entire month with the other members of the BSU to organize the event and get it into its final form. “We’ve planned the whole event, from sparking the idea to making it a reality,” he said.
Davis said he extends gratitude to Pritchard, BSU President Ny’Aja Robinson, and Irma Parker from the Parent Resource Center for her help coordinating the event’s food, as well as to all “the help from our BSU family.”
According to Davis, it took a team effort to put this event together. “We encourage[d] everyone to come out to support and help us celebrate Black History Month,” he said.